Red-hot Cavaliers close on strong note
Published 12:47 am Friday, November 1, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
COLUMBUS – They finished in style.
The Callaway Cavaliers wrapped up a phenomenal regular season with a 51-0 victory over the Jordan Red Jackets on a chilly Thursday night at Callaway Stadium.
Callaway (9-1) closed the regular season on a nine-game winning streak after opening with a 10-7 road loss to Opelika.
“I’m proud of the work ethic of our football team, and our coaching staff,” said Pete Wiggins, Callaway’s head coach. “We finished the regular season 9-1, and that’s something to be very proud of, with the one loss coming against a very good football team in Opelika.”
Now, the Cavaliers turn their attention to the Class AA state playoffs.
Callaway, the champion of Region 5-AA, will host Region 7-AA’s fourth-place team in the first round of the state playoffs on Nov. 15.
The Cavaliers have reached the state semifinals three times since 2013, and they appear poised to make another playoff run this year, although Wiggins cautions that there can’t be any let-up now.
“We’ve still got a long way to go to get where we need to be,” Wiggins said. “We’ve got a lot of goals left to accomplish, so we’ve got to get better each week, each day, and that’s what we’re going to continue to work toward.”
A winless Jordan team didn’t figure to provide much opposition, and that was the case.
The Cavaliers led 49-0 at the half, and they tacked on a safety in the third quarter as the second half went quickly with a running clock.
The night’s most noteworthy moment came late in the first quarter when Tate Johnson, Callaway’s outstanding senior offensive lineman, scored a touchdown.
Johnson lined up in the backfield and caught a screen pass from Demetrius Coleman, and the 300-pound plus offensive lineman rumbled into the end zone for the 16-yard touchdown.
“He showed some moves after he caught that ball,” Wiggins said with a grin.
It’s a play the Cavaliers worked on in practice, and after they recovered a fumble deep in Red Jackets’ territory, offensive coordinator Matt Napier dialed up the play, which was called big tater.
“We got that recovery on the 20-yard line, and I was on the sideline, and (Napier) called big tater, big tater,” Johnson said. “So that was a cool moment.”
Callaway’s other offensive touchdowns came in a more conventional manner.
Demetrius Coleman threw touchdown passes to Jacob Freeman, Antinez Blount and Johnson, and Freeman also had a scoring run.
Charlie Dixon had two touchdown runs, Keshawn Suggs returned a fumble for a touchdown, and Callaway’s final points came on a safety late in the third quarter.
The Cavaliers’ first points of the game came on Dixon 32-yard touchdown run with 7:34 left in the first quarter, and Blake Eubanks made the first of his seven extra points.
Later in the first quarter Dixon struck again, this time for a 30-yard scoring run, and the lead was 14-0.
Following a fumble recovery, the Cavaliers opened up the play-book and pulled out big tater, with Johnson finding the end zone to make it a 21-0 game with 47 seconds left in the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter Coleman hooked up with Blount for a 20-yard touchdown, and Suggs scooped up a fumble inside the 10-yard line and scored to push the lead to 35-0.
On Callaway’s next possession, Freeman got behind the Jordan defense for a 40-yard touchdown, and Freeman capped the first-half scoring with a 65-yard scoring run.
With time running down in the third quarter, Jordan’s quarterback recovered a fumble in the end zone, giving Callaway two points for a safety.
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